The King County Metro transit authority in Washington is eliminating its paper ticket books to encourage more riders to participate in the region’s smart transit card program: ORCA (One Regional Card for All).
According to tukwilareport.com, paper ticket books will longer be sold after June 30. Metro estimates this will save about $80,000 a year in printing and supply costs alone. Ticket books purchased through June 30 will not have an expiration date and thus remain valid for trips taken on Metro.
The contactless smart card, first introduced in 2009, offers users a more convenient method of fare payment. Once the card is registered, cardholders unlock additional features including balance protection, auto-load and access to other information using their My ORCA account.
Unlike cash, ORCA cards are smaller and more convenient to handle, and it can also be easily replaced if lost, stolen or damaged. And there is no need to fumble for exact change when paying the fare.
Also, balance protection protects the user from losing any value on the card if it is lost or stolen. A replacement card is issued with its previous value restored for the cost a new card if the card is registered.
Metro reports also reveal that ticket book sales have decreased over the years, from an average of about 25,000 per month to only about 3,000 per month. Currently, more than 60 percent of all transit trips are paid by ORCA card.
The ORCA card is currently accepted on King County Metro, Sound Transit and Washington State Ferries.